A work of Arc: Bike rack-inspired prefab 'unpacks' for Sunset Celebration Weekend
House Arc, the inhabitable cousin of Bellomo Architects' innovative public bike storage system, is an easy-to-assemble prefab shelter with a bent recycled steel tube frame that can be shipped in a single box.
Given that we’re about halfway through National Bike Month, I thought it would be only appropriate to feature at least one bicycle-centric work of architecture. So here you go …
Joseph Bellomo’s award-winning, smart growth-oriented architecture firm boasts an impressively eclectic — and deeply sustainable — project list: car parks, cultural centers, private residences, pedestrian overpasses, churches, the Facebook Corporate Café. One of Bellomo Architecture’s most high profile projects to date is actually an innovative public bike storage system called Bike Arc. Developed by Bellomo in partnership with Palto Alto-based bike advocate Jeff Selzer, Bike Arc is a modular, arc-shaped steel structure that’s user-friendly, protective, and aesthetically significant. Basically, it’s the antidote to the common, clumsy bike rack.
Riffing off of the curvaceous shape and modular nature of the Bike Arc, Bellomo and design partner Taraneh Naddafi developed House Arc, a prefab ADU concept made from recycled steel tubes that are bent to give the structure its signature shape. The easy-to-assemble structure weighs less than 3,500 pounds and can be flat-packed and shipped in a 4-by-10-by-3-foot box, lending itself to both emergency disaster relief and “we need to find somewhere to put Grandma when she visits next time” scenarios. Says Bellomo: “We designed the House Arc to function like a kit of parts so that it could be assembled quickly—like prefab furniture. House Arc was conceived as a modest, easy-to-construct modular system that could act as both a gracious shelter for communities in need, and as an attractive solution for individuals interested in backyard home expansion.”
When “unpacked” and assembled, House Arc takes up a compact 8-by-12 footprint and includes smart, sustainable design features including operable windows that allow for natural ventilation and a shading trellis made from natural cedar that blankets the top of structure to prevent heat gain (no HVAC systems are necessary).
The 150-square-foot, capsule-shaped structure (it almost resembles a miniature, wheel-less Airstream with wood siding, right?) is meant to sit atop concrete footings so that air can circulate underneath the home, resulting in passive cooling. And true to its emergency shelter roots, House Arc was designed to withstand tropical winds and other sorts of inclement weather (although I'm guessing not tornados or floods). Affixing solar panels to the roof in order to go totally off the grid is also an option.
The cost? The base model of House Arc will set you back $55,000 to $75,000 depending on finish selections. Options like PV panels, plumbing, fixtures, cabinetry, and insulation are not included in the base price; the same goes for shipping, installation, permitting, etc. Also not included? A bike and a dude sitting out front jamming out on a guitar.
Beautifully executed, smartly designed stuff (I’m still getting over the fact that the whole thing can be shipped in a single box like an IKEA bookshelf albeit a very heavy IKEA bookshelf). That said, Bellomo Architects will be unpacking House Arc for public tours at West Coast shelter mag Sunset’s big annual hoedown, Celebration Weekend, in Menlo Park, Calif. If you plan on attending — Celebration Weekend 2012 runs from June 2-3 — be sure to pop by the Ultimate Outdoor Living Room, the exhibit where House Arc will be displayed. And don’t forget to bring Granny along.
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